Ed O’Neill Brazilian Jiu Jitsu: Is Al Bundy a Black Belt?

In the bustling town of Hollywood, a man named Ed O’Neill lived. Ed was not just an ordinary man. He was a beloved actor, known for his iconic role as Al Bundy in the hit television show “Married… with Children.” But there was something about Ed that most people didn’t know—he had a hidden passion for Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and mixed martial arts.

Ed O’Neill “Al Bundy” has trained in Brazilian jiu-jitsu with the Gracie family under Rorion Gracie. He has been practicing BJJ since the late 1980s, and He received his black belt after 16 years.

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Brazilian jiu-jitsu is a highly effective and popular martial art with many benefits, such as better physical and mental health. This article tells the story of Edward Leonard O’Neill’s journey with BJJ. We’ll look at his BJJ belt rank, his most significant challenges, and the lessons learned along the way. Stay tuned!

O’Neill’s Early Life and Acting Career

Edward Leonard O’Neill, known as Ed O’Neill, was born on April 12, 1946, in Youngstown, Ohio, and began acting early. He followed his theatrical ambitions by attending Ohio University and Youngstown State University.

Following graduation, O’Neill began his acting career, seeing both triumphs and setbacks along the way. His best-known roles include:

  • His portrayal as Al Bundy in Married… Children received two Golden Globe nominations.

  • His part in Modern Family, he got three Primetime Emmy nods and four SAG nominations.

In addition to the Wayne’s World film series, Ed O’Neill has appeared in other films such as Little Giants, Prefontaine, The Bone Collector, Sun Dogs, etc.

Ed O’Neill “Al Bundy” Jiu-Jitsu Beginnings

Ed O’Neill dabbled in boxing as a kid, and he was a reasonably athletic kid who enjoyed sports such as football, handball, and baseball. However, he had no prior knowledge of jiu-jitsu and had no intention of learning it.

But things changed in the late 1980s!

Ed O’Neill had the privilege of knowing John Milius at the time, a renowned producer and writer who had worked on films such as “Conan the Barbarian” and “Apocalypse Now.”

John had introduced Ed to the world of BJJ since he was already familiar with this martial art and had been taking jiu-jitsu classes alongside his son, Ethan.

Ed was first apprehensive to enter the martial arts scene. He questioned the necessity to pursue a new discipline since he was preoccupied with his hectic schedule and had a great appreciation for boxing and collegiate wrestling.

But, curiosity got the best of ED, and after much convincing from John, he decided to give BJJ a try.

Ed O’Neill’s first jiu-jitsu class was Gracie Jiu-Jitsu University Torrance. Al Bundy arrived at his first BJJ class at the Torrance training site with enthusiasm and trepidation.

Then Ed was introduced to Rorion Gracie, a revitalized BJJ Black Belt, whose kind personality and welcoming demeanor convinced O’Neill of the incredible martial art and led to years of training.

So, Ed decided to join regular sessions after being intrigued by its complexities and the brilliance of the approaches. That happened years ago.

Source: Gracie Jiu-jitsu Academy

Related: Brazillian Jiu-Jitsu is one of the most remarkable grappling martial arts to learn. Therefore, I’ve created a lengthy post on how to begin practicing jiu-jitsu correctly. Click here to read more!

Rorion Gracie and Ed O’Neill: The Free BJJ Trial Class

On his first day on the mat, Ed doubts starting training in Brazilian since it is a new martial art in the United States.

However, before he could swiftly exit, John Milius introduced him to the instructor, a seasoned practitioner named Rorion. His warm demeanor and welcoming attitude convinced Ed to stay for at least a brief introduction to BJJ.

Rorion graciously offered O’Neill a ten-minute free trial class that changed his conception of martial arts.

Ed was challenged to escape the bottom mount position and he accepted without thinking!

O’Neill weighed around 230 pounds and Rorion was 175 pounds, Ed believed he could overpower and push away Rorion easily. With a burst of energy, Al Bundy attempted to push Rorion off him, but to his surprise, Rorion effortlessly maintained his position.

Then, exhaustion quickly set in, leaving Ed breathless and defeated within seconds. This humbling experience revealed the strength and skill inherent in BJJ.

Acknowledging his fatigue, Rorion offered Ed an opportunity to reverse roles. He invited him to hold him down for a mere three seconds. Initially skeptical, he accepted the challenge. Gripping him firmly by the shoulders, Ed exerted all his strength while Rorion encouraged him to persevere.

However, Ed’s efforts were in vain as Rorion swiftly escaped O’Neil’s Grip, leaving him in awe of his technique.

Despite the initial embarrassment, Ed felt a newfound admiration for BJJ. Intrigued by its intricacies and the techniques’ brilliance, I decided to enroll in regular classes.

Source: ROF Industries Inc.

Related: Are you curious about Jiu-Jitsu but unsure what to expect from your first class? Don’t let it hold you back! This post will walk you through the process of preparing for and attending your first Jiu-Jitsu class to have an incredible grappling experience and a good martial arts start.

Ed O’Neill “Al Bundy” BJJ Rank

Ed O’Neill “Al Bundy” has been training in BJJ under the guidance of the Gracie family for numerous years.

In December 2007, Ed O’Neill accomplished a remarkable feat by earning his black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, a prestigious honor bestowed upon him by Rorion Gracie.

As a result, Ed entered the exclusive ranks of celebrities with a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, cementing his incredible feat.

Although it may seem a long trip compared to the usual 10-year journey of ordinary practitioners, Ed O’Neill’s sixteen-year road to the black belt bears more value.

For Ed, the black belt represented more than simply a goal; it represented the tremendous experiences and personal development he experienced along the way.

This incredible BJJ journey instilled in Ed virtues like resilience, humility, and a great appreciation of the need for continuous self-improvement. Furthermore, it introduced him to a close-knit group that has become like a second family to him.

A black belt is a significant achievement for any practitioner, indicating remarkable devotion and expertise. Nonetheless, statistics show that nearly 90% of those who practice Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu will not achieve the famous black belt skill.

Related: This article delves into the Brazilian jiu-jitsu belt ranking system. It emphasizes the meaning of the belts and the progression timeline to help you have the best training experience possible. Learn More Right Now!

At What Age Did Ed O’Neill Start BJJ?

Ed O’Neill began training in Brazilian jiu-jitsu when he was approximately 42 years old under Rorion Gracie. He’s been having a good time with Rorion for quite some time now. They have a strong bond, almost as if they are brothers.

In addition, he has formed a strong bond with the entire Gracie family, which is a rare accomplishment. Because he had never done anything like this combat sport, adapting to BJJ grappling techniques took him a long time.

Furthermore, the principle gained through this discipline is that you do not have to rely on your strength to win the fight.

It will help if you practice breathing and relaxation techniques, which are vital to master. Unfortunately, at the time, he was entirely out of character in these situations.

Otherwise, when Ed began BJJ, he thought he needed to master everything relatively quickly. Additionally, he needs to deal with fatigue and exhaustion as rapidly as possible due to his age. However, everything worked out in the end for him due to his efforts.

Related: Learn about Gordon Ramsay’s martial arts journey, including the benefits of practicing this discipline. Also, learn about his dedication to fitness and discover the truth behind his black belt status. Click here to learn more!

Ed O’Neill’s Message to Those Starting BJJ After 40

Ed O'Neill “Al Bundy” brazilian jiu jitsu

Ed O’Neill proves you can have a successful martial arts career even if you start BJJ at 40. It necessitates a small amount of courage, especially if you are unfamiliar with how jiu-jitsu is performed.

Others are apprehensive about learning Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu when they’re in their 40s or later because they can’t imagine themselves getting smashed by a teen who’s only 16 years old.

No, not at all!

You can begin training in jiu-jitsu at any age, even 40 or older because beginning BJJ at any age will undoubtedly change your life.

These Ed O’Neill recommendations will help you successfully start a fantastic Brazilian Jiu-jitsu journey if you’re after 40.

  • First and foremost, you must check your ego at the door, As the expression goes, although it has become somewhat overused. Ed believes you must approach the experience with genuine curiosity and a willingness to learn.
  • Discover and develop your Brazilian jiu-jitsu knowledge by finding your rhythm while learning and practicing. Relax and develop the ability to predict what your opponent plans to do before he does it. Of course, being in this state necessitates having a wide variety of BJJ moves and techniques.
  • Do not go overboard with your training: If you train too much, you risk becoming demotivated and giving up. It’s okay to take a day on and off; you’ll find that it’ll unexpectedly refresh you and that minor injuries will heal more quickly.


Ed O’Neill’s journey to Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu has been one of passion, perseverance, and personal development. His adventure started in the 1980s, with the help of Rorion Gracie and his family, who became mentors and extended family to Ed.

Ed’s comprehension of BJJ increased under the excellent supervision of Rorion and his family, and he was driven to endure and thrive in his training.

This journey, however, was not without its difficulties. Ed earned the renowned title of the black belt after sixteen years of relentless dedication. This achievement was made possible through perseverance, humility, and a strong conviction in the value of constant self-improvement.

Anybody thinking about starting their BJJ adventure should accept the obstacles and possibilities that await them. The journey may be difficult, but the benefits are immense.

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu has the ability to change not just your physical talents, but also your perspective and view on life. Accept the art, train hard, and experience the tremendous effect it can have on your life.

Ed O’Neill

Related: Discover the names of famous celebs’ Brazilian Jiu-jitsu black belts! Despite their hectic daily schedules and life’s distractions, these iconic faces have dedicated significant time, effort, and commitment to BJJ training. Click here to read more!

Frequently Asked Questions

Does Ed O’Neill Have a Black Belt?

Ed O’Neill, well known for his role as Al Bundy in the comedy “Married… with Children,” is a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu. He reached this significant BJJ milestone in December 2007, after years of unwavering training and persistence under the tutelage of Ririon Gracie.

What Role Does Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Have in Ed O’neill’s Life?

The art form has greatly influenced Ed O’Neill’s physical health, emotional well-being, personal development, and passion for Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

How Did Ed O’Neill Overcome All Struggles to Stay Consistent with BJJ Training?

Despite his hectic schedule, Ed makes it over to the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu academy at least once weekly. Aside from that, he makes it a point to roll with Rorion for approximately an hour during each BJJ session.

He also tries to do something new daily, including chin-ups, cycling, rowing, weight training, dumbbell presses, and squats.

What Is Ed O’Neill’s Advice for Beginners in BJJ?

Ed O’Neill advises anybody considering starting their own BJJ adventure to embrace the obstacles and possibilities that await them. The journey may be difficult, but the benefits are immense.

Is Ed O’Neill a Martial Artist?

Ed O’Neill is regarded as a martial artist. He has been raining Brazilian jiu-jitsu since the late 1980s. More than four decades of interest and involvement in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, demonstrating his devotion to the martial arts.

Related: Learn about Willie Nelson’s journey into martial arts. From his training to becoming a black belt in Teakwondo and GongKwon Yusul, Nelson’s story will inspire and amaze you. Click here to learn more!

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